Wednesday, April 7, 2010

66.) Shippagan

Decided to try shorter and (hopefully) more frequent posts.

Soundtrack Song - Paramore, Brick by Boring Brick

After we stopped for a bathroom break and a chance to get something to eat or drink, Kris and I were back on the road to Shippagan. I snacked periodically on some saltine crackers and sipped on some diet Coke to let my stomach settle. Those crêpes had tasted a lot better going down than they had coming back up. Between that stupid fucking dream and the fact that I already hadn’t been feeling good, between eating too much and the motion sickness, I hurled up everything I’d eaten like a pathetic fool who was incapable of maintaining control of her body.

Kris and I were pussyfooting around each other, as, I suppose, could be expected after having to sit together in such close quarters for so long while our tempers flared. Well, we were nice enough to each other as he drove and told me what signs to look for, and I helped navigate the way even though I had the feeling that he knew the way and this was just him being nice and letting me feel like I was helping and contributing. At least looking for signs was distracting me temporarily from all the things I didn’t want to be thinking about.

I was still annoyed with him, and I think he was still a little pissed that I had snapped at him. We hadn’t bickered or fought like that for a while. Maybe it was the drive, or the nerves and sadness about tomorrow, or residual emotions from the fact that my meeting his mother hadn’t gone as well as we’d hoped.... But we were both on edge a little, making everything worse. So even though we were being superficially nice to each other, there was still an underlying tension between us.

No, I hadn’t wanted to tell Kris about the dream I had. The dream itself wasn’t bad, which was why my reaction to it had been so strong. I would have traded in that one dream for all those nightmares I had had, and I would have considered it an upgrade. And as upset as it had made me, I didn’t want to share it with Kris—not now. Not when tomorrow was Luc’s birthday, and I was supposed to be strong, so the almighty Kristopher Letang would have someone to lean on, if he so needed. Which he probably didn’t, but that was beside the point.

As if having another mind-fucking dream wasn’t bad enough, he tried to coax it out of me. After he had explicitly refused to talk to me about his own sensitive subject, which was what had pissed me off and made me flip out on him. There was no quid pro quo in this relationship. Our “relationship” consisted of Kris putting on his Superman cape and helping me when I needed it. He, apparently, was invincible. All I had done was merely offer to listen, without passing judgment, but he wouldn’t accept it. It was a fucking double standard; he was a hypocrite.

Worst of all, I knew that I would have to confront him about this at some point. I couldn’t keep going in this relationship if it was going to continue to be this one-sided. Even if Kris were strong enough to handle this all on his own—which he wasn’t, by the way—there had to be something that I could offer him that would make our relationship even. Because that’s what a relationship was: a connection between two people, meaning there had to be give and take on both ends. I mean, after all, wasn’t that the point of me coming along with him on this trip, to be able to provide some support for him like he had been doing for me over the past several months? The confrontation would have to wait, though, until after tomorrow; I couldn’t spring it on him today or on Luc’s birthday. That would be just awful of me.

I still couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t talk to me about his dad or what had happened to break up his family. After everything we’d been through... after everything that I’d shared with him—secrets and stories that I hadn’t shared with anyone else, that no one else knew—he wouldn’t open up to me. It hurt. It hurt really, really bad. Worse than being stabbed in the heart or slapped across the face. I couldn’t take not being proactive in this relationship anymore. I needed to know that I offered him something, that I was holding up my end of it.

He was the kind of guy that wanted to nurture and support the people around him and the people about whom he cared. Firstly, he’d do anything for his teammates, both on and off the ice. He fought for them, backed them up on defense and pitched in on offense when the opportunities arose. In addition, he felt like it was his duty to make sure his mother was happy and worry-free now that he had the means to provide for her, because of everything that she had done to foster his development as a person and as a hockey player. And now he was playing the role of therapist to me, his lost and helpless girlfriend, finding the need to take me under his wing.

But who, in the meantime, was taking care of Kris? No one. Certainly not himself. He willingly accepted and took on everyone else’s burdens, along with his own, and placed the weight solely on his own shoulders. And it’s not that no one wanted to help him with that load—he just wouldn’t share it with anyone. Kris tried to do it all himself. He wanted to be this pillar of strength, so he’d never relinquish control or allow anyone else to carry the burden. And as much as Kris kept saying that he wanted to help me with my grief, I wanted to help him with his heavy load. But he just wouldn’t fucking let me, always keeping at arm’s length when it came to things like this.

Kris pulled the truck into the parking lot of this quaint, tiny little inn in Shippagan at about eight thirty. I stared out the window, trying to see the place in the dark. “This is it,” he said with a tired sigh, shutting off the engine. “We made it.”

I tried to think of something to say, but I couldn’t. There wasn’t anything particularly remarkable about this place. There was snow everywhere, it was cold, and it looked like a quiet, small town—especially at this time of night. Kris pulled out our bags, and I took mine from him. He led the way into the lobby of the inn, and I hung back as he talked to the clerk.

At first, I thought I was going crazy, because she was talking in a strange combination of French and English. I tried to follow along with what she was saying, but I really was kind of out of it after the day I had, so I just let Kris deal with the clerk and get the keys to our room. That’s what he was best at anyway: taking care of everything himself.

The clerk flirted with him, batting her lashes at him as he reached for the card key and her fingers brushed against his. Kris didn’t seem to notice, because I’m sure he was used to this, but it only pissed me off to see how obvious she was being. Like I wasn’t standing right there. Stupid bitch. I automatically stepped to his side, snaked an arm around his waist, and leaned my head against his bicep, like I was staking my claim or marking him as my territory. Despite everything going on right now, he was still mine at the moment, and she needed to respect that.

He lifted his arm to wrap it around my shoulders, pulling me against him and giving me a squeeze. The clerk glared at me—which Kris also neglected to notice.

“Tired?” he asked, turning us and starting to walk us toward wherever our room was. I think he interpreted my action as a kind gesture toward him, like I was making physical contact to try to make amends.

“Mmhmm. Trips never seem as long as when you’re driving, but when you’re a passenger they just feel like forever,” I yawned, moving with him down the hallway.

“Well, we can get to bed straight away,” he suggested, falling back into his natural role of care-taker as if nothing ever happened. “Tomorrow’s gonna be busy anyway.”

We stopped in front of our room, and he unlocked the door and pushed it open for me to walk through ahead of him, like the gentleman he was. I dropped my bag at the foot of the bed and sat down on it, checking out the tacky beige décor. After looking around for a second, I decided to ask the question, “So, what exactly is going to happen tomorrow?”

Kris shrugged, sitting beside me and picking up my hand. He followed the lines in my palm with his index finger. “Cemetery in the morning, just the few of us that were really close to Luc. Like his girlfriend and mother. And then Suzanne’s going to be serving lunch with a bunch of people at her place, his whole family and stuff. Like a birthday party, kind of.”

I cleared my throat; he had only answered half my question. If only the people that were close to Luc were going, that certainly didn’t include me. My stomach knotted again with anxiety. “Okay, but what about me?”

“What do you mean, what about you?” he asked earnestly, looking at me with curiosity as he held my hand. He really didn’t know what I was getting at with my question.

“Well, like....” I paused, trying to mull over my thoughts properly to ask this question without making this about me. Because this wasn’t about me, but I had tried to insert myself into the occasion and now I had to find out how to conduct myself and what to expect so I didn’t make an idiot out of myself around the people he was close with. Meeting Suzanne and Charlene and Luc’s family was just as big of a deal as was meeting his mother, and this was the first time it hit me how epic it was. “What do I do?”

“You come with me,” he breathed, bringing my hand up to his mouth. “That’s why you’re here, right?”

“I don’t think I really thought this whole thing through,” I mumbled, my eyes following his lips as they pressed gently against the back of my hand. “Isn’t it going to be really weird if I show up? I didn’t know Luc. What if everyone gets offended that I’m there?”

“Why would anyone get offended?” he asked, his thumb rubbing across my knuckles, his breath caressing my skin.

I closed my eyes, enjoying the sensations that took over my body as he kissed each of my fingers and then turned my hand over. I didn’t let that distract me from saying what I needed to, though. “Because I always got offended when the people who didn’t know James acted all sad, when they couldn’t really miss him because they weren’t friends. All the girls at school would cry in the hallways as I walked past. They held an assembly at school for people to attend if they wanted to, to remember and mourn him, and I remember hating everyone who showed up. They didn’t know him like I knew him, and it was all a fuckin’ farce. So I don’t want to be one of those people.”

“You won’t be ‘one of those people,’” he promised, his mouth now hovering over my wrist. As he spoke, puffs of air grazed my skin and turned me into one big goose-bump. “You’re not gonna go and pretend like you were best friends with Luc and that you miss him. You’re not gonna be there to mourn the loss of someone you didn’t know. You’re gonna go to be supportive of me and you’ll be respectful to everyone else, so there’s a difference between what you’ll be doing versus what your schoolmates did. Besides, I’ve already talked to Suzanne and Charlene, and they knew you were driving up with me and didn’t have a problem with it. They’re expecting to see you. And, actually, Charlene’s kind of excited to meet you finally.”

“Really?” I asked, my voice high-pitched and squeaky, because I was stunned and surprised by that statement. The notion of Kris’s friend being excited to meet me had this weird effect on me, like I was both a little relieved and nervous about it. Kris nodded, and I continued, “Even considering how I was a total bitch to her that one time I talked to her on the phone, like, in November?”

He chuckled, pushing the sleeve of my sweater up past my elbow and exposing my arm to him. “Yeah, believe it or not.”

I couldn’t shake the sinking feeling in my gut, like I had screwed up and made a mistake by making this journey with him. “I don’t know, Kris. I still don’t think I should have come.”

“Why?” He stopped what he was doing and looked me square in the eyes. “What’s with this sudden change of heart? You said you’d drag me up here yourself if I wouldn’t come, and now you’re this shrinking violet.”

I pulled my arm out of his grasp and hugged myself. “I dunno, I just....” I struggled to find the words I wanted without getting overly emotional. “I don’t think you need me here. I don’t think my being here is going to make a difference in how tomorrow goes. You’ve told me all along that the reason you got through this was because you had Luc’s loved ones to go through it with. They're the ones you need to be sharing this with, not me. I don’t know these people, and this is one of the worst days of the year to meet them.” I shook my head, already convinced that I was wrong. “No, see, I shouldn’t’ve come.”

Kris rolled his eyes. “That’s stupid, Jo.”

“No, it isn’t stupid,” I hissed, furious that he was so dismissive. “It’s true! It was so selfish of me to come along. I was only thinking about me, that I wanted to help—”

“But you wanted to help me

“—that I thought being here would even matter—”

“—but it matters to me—”

“—and somehow I convinced myself that I was going to make this trip all about you, but that’s just it, Kris, if I had wanted this trip to be good for you, then I wouldn’t have tagged along.”

“—and I told you before that I thought this would be good for us.”

Us. Not just for him, but for me, too. I sighed. Part of me wanted so badly to confess how I needed him to need me, but at the risk of sounding like that Cheap Trick song, I kept my mouth shut. It felt like I was playing games with him by not coming right out and asking him to trust me, like the stupid girls that played these mind tricks with their boyfriends and then got pissed at them when they didn’t measure up somehow. That wasn’t me; it’s unreasonable to expect someone to be something or do something if you don’t make it clear what you’re looking for.

But I felt like this was a necessary test, even though it was shady. Ugh, I was being one of those stupid girls I hated. The thing was, though, that I knew if I told him what I wanted from him, he’d deliver—because I wanted it, and not because he did. That was just the kind of guy that Kris was. And Kris needed to do this of his own volition and necessity. We were going to see if this really was good for us—including Kris.

I sighed, surrendering in this battle. I couldn’t fight anymore, because then I’d reveal my strategy. The only thing for me to do was wait and see how it played out and adapt to Kris’s tactics. All I said was, “I hope so.”

“That’s it?” he asked, looking at me carefully.

“What do you mean?”

“No other argument? No telling me I’m wrong? No insisting that you’re right?” He cupped my chin and kissed the tip of my nose. “Who are you, and what have you done with my girlfriend?”

I jerked out of his grasp with a smile and playfully pushed his shoulder. “Don’t test my patience,” I quipped.

His hand circled my wrist, and as I tried to squirm and get away, Kris wrestled me down to the bed. I giggled and wiggled, not really wanting to break free. Kris pinned me down with his body, and his free hand cupped the vee between my legs, pressing the inseam of my jeans against my clit. It didn’t take long for my body to react to his touches and buck against him, especially since the night before had left me high and dry.

“I think I owe you a night of fun,” he teased, his breath hitting my neck and further sparking my libido. With a quickness I didn’t know he had, my jeans were unbuttoned and unzipped and his hand was in my panties.

“Yes please,” I moaned, his fingers sliding around and touching me in all the right places. Tonight was tonight, and tomorrow was tomorrow; I was going to enjoy tonight while it lasted and deal with what tomorrow held when it happened.

8 comments:

  1. well jo at least they don't hate you like his mom does.....

    thats my only consolation i have...
    I really like the story by the way . can't wait for more, keep it up

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  2. Agreed 100% with musiclovr101. Fingers crossed for them both that everything goes well for them both :) I am VERY ADDICTED to this story

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  3. What's the deal? I think you forgot to post the rest of what you wrote. lol

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  4. Okay Jay, if this is your idea of short post, I'm not sure what a long one would be like!

    Lots to like here, this quote:
    "There was no quid pro quo in this relationship. Our “relationship” consisted of Kris putting on his Superman cape and helping me when I needed it. He, apparently, was invincible."
    This completely reminds me of so many guys, they all want to solve your problems and be strong. But Jo really wants to give something back and she's getting pretty focused on that issue now. And she's right.

    I love the intimacy of the moment when he's kissing her fingers, it just seems like such a small action and yet communicates a lot more about the way Kris is.

    Their whole relationship seems like a real dance right now, weaving in and out, and never quite being in sync. Have to see what happens next! Great writing as usual.

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  5. I love this story!
    I liked how Kris didn't notice the hotel clerk was flirting with him (men never do). Then Jo wraps her arm around him to claim him, and he doesn't know that's what she doing. That's so real life.

    I realy liked the I/Me banter, and the whole hand, fingers, arm caressing, kissing very sweet and hot!

    I hope Jo can make Kris see he needs someone to take of him sometimes.

    But Jo should make him call his mother like he promised. Mrs Letang said she couldn't sleep till she knew he arrived safely. She might call in the middle of Jo's night of fun and ruin it for her again!

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  6. Only Kris can make a disagreement sexy. I loved how he was touching Jo the whole time while also calming her down and reassuring her. One perfect man right there. I'm kind of nervous to see how tomorrow will go, but I hope that they accept her, just like Kris said they would.

    Lovely update, my dear<3

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  7. FINALLY.
    After a week. I'm all caught up : )

    Like always, you're an amazing writer.
    And I can't wait to read more!

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  8. "Well, we were nice enough to each other as he drove and told me what signs to look for, and I helped navigate the way even though I had the feeling that he knew the way and this was just him being nice and letting me feel like I was helping and contributing."
    ^^ Such a 'Kris' thing to do. I can just seem him, driving the way from memory - something he could do with his eyes closed - but still asking for her help.

    Jo's point of view was amazing in this update by the way. There were so many fantastic little tid-bits of personality that made me laugh out loud, such as:

    "He, apparently, was invincible"

    "Even if Kris were strong enough to handle this all on his own—which he wasn’t, by the way"
    ^^ I loved seeing her good 'ol spunk come out in this one... even though she was feeling sick and not getting along with Kris the best, it still made me smile.
    See, even when they don't get along they're still perfect for each other... they're meant to be!

    "The clerk flirted with him, batting her lashes at him as he reached for the card key and her fingers brushed against his. Kris didn’t seem to notice, because I’m sure he was used to this, but it only pissed me off to see how obvious she was being. Like I wasn’t standing right there. Stupid bitch."
    ^^ Agreed. Bitch.

    I can JUST picture this. Like... clerk all in La-La-OMG-Kris-Letang-Is-Here-And-I-Love-Him Land, while Jo's standing RIGHT there.
    He's not interested in you sweetheart, so F OFF!

    And of course, Kris would have no idea that anything had even happened... stupid boys /sigh.

    UGHHH and ending it there?!
    Now I'm all worried about Jo meeting everyone tomorrow, watching how Kris reacts to everything AND ending it with THAT?! How can I live vicariously through Jo if I can't read Smut?! hahaha too much? Maybe... sorry... I really missed ID.

    ON WARD!

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